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French National Honour for Two UWI Academics

The Government of France has conferred the designation Knight of the National Order of Merit (Chevalier de L’Ordre National du Merite) on two members of staff of The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. They are Head of the Department of Modern Languages, Dr. Paulette Ramsay, and Senior Lecturer and former head of the Department of Government,   Dr.  Jessica Byron-Reid.
The award, which was created in 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle, recognizes distinguished service and exceptional contributions to France by French or non-French individuals who have given significant service in the military, or in the public or private sector.
Dr. Paulette Ramsay was designated (“chevalier” knight) in recognition of her work as Head of Department in helping to promote the teaching of  the French language  and  her significant role in monitoring the study and testing of Modern Languages, including French,  in the Caribbean.
As Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, she has effectively implemented many changes and new initiatives which have helped to give the Department greater visibility and increase collaboration with International Partners. The most important initiative has been her proposal and implementation of the 2011 policy “Repositioning Foreign Languages in the University of The West Indies,” which successfully opened the study of Foreign Languages in The UWI, Mona, to all students. The Department has seen significant increases in its numbers as a result of this. The French Section in particular has seen its numbers increase especially among the majors and Beginners’ courses. Dr. Ramsay also collaborated with the Embassy and the Alliance Française de la Jamaïque and the Office of the Principal to plan and launch a French Ciné Club in the University which was very important to the mission of the French Embassy and the French Government. She continues to collaborate with the Embassy in different ways.
Dr. Jessica Byron-Reid was recognized for her role in the establishment and coordination of the tripartite Bachelor/Master programme in Politics and International Cooperation involving the UWI, the Université of Antilles-Guyane (UAG) and the University of Bordeaux IV.  The B.Sc./M.Sc. in Politics and International Cooperation offered by the UWI, Université Antilles Guyane (UAG) and Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Bordeaux IV, offers students of French and the Social Sciences the possibility of studying in Bordeaux and at the UAG during their undergraduate and graduate programmes. It is a unique experience that offers an opportunity to enhance their linguistic skills, deepen their exposure to the Political Science and Development Studies curricula in the French and Commonwealth Caribbean contexts and further the relationships and professional networks between French and English territories. Some 31 students have graduated from the programme to date and it has also facilitated academic exchanges among the staff of the three institutions.
The awards were conferred on both members of staff at a ceremony held at the Embassy of France in Kingston, Jamaica.

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